The St. Charles College Cardinals junior boys soccer team unveiled a flair for the dramatic, participating in the Nipissing Invitational in North Bay last weekend.
In round robin play, oach Carlo Pastrre and company overcame a 2-0 halftime deficit, earning a 2-2 draw with the St. Mary's Knights from Sault Ste. Marie. In the championship final, it was time to "one up" themselves.
Facing the hometown Scollard Hall St. Joseph Bears with the banner on the line, the Cards forced overtime with a goal in the final minute of play, and completed their comeback by capturing gold on penalty kicks, outscoring the Bears 3-1 in the shootout.
That opportunity was created only when Ryan Teddy fed Praise Kenge for the equalizer with time running out. Upon returning to Sudbury this week, the team remained unbeaten (4-0-3) with a lopsided win over the Lockerby Vikings.
The balance of the St. Charles roster features Alessio Capasso, Graeme Siren, Deric Rivet, Alex Thibodeau, Chase Bonhomme, Taylor Norwood, Aiden Ragogna, Aiden Popowich, Keenan Osawabine, Nicholas Faught, Keegan Esquimaux, Connor Goudreau, Brenden Weber and Cameron Walker.
In the girls division, the Confederation Chargers also went to a shootout, this time in semi-final play, edging St. Charles 3-2 before falling in the grand finale to the Chippewa Raiders.
In senior boys action, coach Paul Korzeniecki and the Confederation lads managed their best-ever showing at the tournament, remaining unbeaten in pool play before falling 1-0 in a heart-breaker to the Widdifield Wildcats.
The Valley crew opened with a 3-0 win over the Algonquin Barons, with Connor Sauvé, Christian Gaudreau and Mustafa Alzahran all finding the back of the net. The Chargers then locked down a 1-0 win over Sainte Marie (New Liskeard), with Daniel Walker handling the offense, before playing to a scoreless draw with the Chippewa Raiders.
Kilby Murdock recorded all three shutouts for Confederation. There would be no Sudbury presence in the final as Widdifield and St. Mary's went toe to toe.
Back in Sudbury for regular season play on Monday, the Chargers and Lockerby Vikings tied 1-1, while the Confederation girls blanked the Macdonald-Cartier Panthères 2-0 on a pair of goals from Madison Laberge.
The St. Benedict Bears boys finished regular season play with a record of 2-1-1 (7 pts) following a 5-2 triumph over the Lively Hawks, with the same two teams set to meet in quarter-final action next Tuesday at James Jerome.
The Lockerby senior boys showcased a balanced offense in registering their first win on Tuesday, 5-1 over the Sacré-Coeur Griffons. Emmett Taillefer, Ben Runciman, Dario Beljo, Tyler Dupont and Luke Max all hit the mark for the Vikes, with Mathieu Archambault replying on a penalty kick for Sacré-Coeur.
The Lasalle Lancers girls team continue to show improvement with a very young squad, earning a draw with the St. Charles College Cardinals (3-0-1) 1-1, also on Tuesday. Things did not start well for the Lancers, surrendering a penalty kick in the opening minute of play, with Lexie McNamara making no mistake on the conversion.
But sticking firmly to a defence-first game plan instituted by head coach Matt Cootes, Lasalle kept things close and managed to pull even late in the contest, courtesy of a pretty individual effort from Hay-Lee Lavigne.
"We thought a different formation would be better for our team, and we had to come out strong, because we knew they were a good team," said Lavigne. "We usually play a 4-4-2, but we decided to do a 5-4-1 so that we would have more people at the back. It actually worked."
Trailing 1-0 with about 10 minutes to go, Lavigne had her first real quality chance, opting to forego a left-footed attempt, circling the ball and drilling a shot just off the cross-bar. Minutes later, coming at it from the opposite side of the pitch, she decided to switch things up, burying the game-tying marker off her "wrong" foot.
"I shoot better with my right and I have better aiming," confessed Lavigne. "I don't normally hit it with my left foot, but I had some control and thought I would try something different."
With a record of 0-2-1, Lasalle will close out regular season play on Wednesday versus Confederation.
The Lockerby Vikings girls also came up with a big effort in their last regular season encounter, finishing deadlocked at 1-1 with the Marymount Regals. Freshman Saoirse Dunne netted the Marymount goal, with Bianca Toppazzini countering for Lockerby.
Action continues today (May 16), with the girls quarter-finals set to run on Thursday, beginning at noon, at the James Jerome Sports Complex.